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1.  Adverse Selection? A Multi-Dimensional Profile of People Dispensed Opioid Analgesics for Persistent Non-Cancer Pain 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80095.
Objectives
This study investigates utilisation patterns for prescription opioid analgesics in the Australian community and how these are associated with a framework of individual-level factors related to healthcare use.
Methods
Self-reported demographic and health information from participants in the 45 and Up Study cohort were linked to pharmaceutical claims from 2006–2009. Participants comprised 19,816 people with ≥1 opioid analgesic dispensing in the 12-months after recruitment to the cohort and 79,882 people not dispensed opioid analgesics. All participants were aged ≥45 years, were social security pharmaceutical beneficiaries, with no history of cancer. People dispensed opioid analgesics were classified as having acute (dispensing period <90 days), episodic (≥90 days and <3 ‘authority’ prescriptions for increased quantity supply) or long-term treatment (≥90 days and ≥3 authority prescriptions).
Results
Of participants dispensed opioid analgesic 52% received acute treatment, 25% episodic treatment and 23% long-term treatment. People dispensed opioid analgesics long-term had an average of 14.9 opioid analgesic prescriptions/year from 2.0 doctors compared with 1.5 prescriptions from 1.1 doctors for people receiving acute treatment. People dispensed opioid analgesics reported more need-related factors such as poorer physical functioning and higher psychological distress. Long-term users were more likely to have access-related factors such as low-income and living outside major cities. After simultaneous adjustment, association with predisposing health factors and access diminished, but indicators of need such as osteoarthritis treatment, paracetamol use, and poor physical function were the strongest predictors for all opioid analgesic users.
Conclusions
People dispensed opioid analgesics were in poorer health, reported higher levels of distress and poorer functioning than people not receiving opioid analgesics. Varying dispensing profiles were evident among people dispensed opioid analgesics for persistent pain, with those receiving episodic and long-term treatment dispensed the strongest opioid analgesics. The findings highlight the broad range of factors associated with longer term opioid analgesics use.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080095
PMCID: PMC3846564  PMID: 24312456
2.  A nested case–control analysis of self-reported physical functioning after total knee replacement surgery in the 45 and Up Study Cohort 
BMJ Open  2013;3(7):e002291.
Objectives
The rate of total knee arthroplasty surgery (TKA) is rising in Australia despite varying impacts of TKA on physical function (PF) in population-based studies. There are potentially modifiable risk factors that could enhance PF after TKA, so we evaluated (1) the levels of PF in persons with TKA and the rest of the population, (2) potentially modifiable characteristics of those reporting poor PF after TKA.
Design
Nested case–control study.
Setting
Population-based cohort study in New South Wales, Australia.
Participants
Members of a large (n=267 151) cohort study recruited by a self-completed, mailed questionnaire from 2006 to 2008. After exclusions (for hip arthroplasty, partial TKA, missing important variables and mismatching TKA status between self-reported and hospital record data), this study included 205 148 participants.
Primary and secondary outcomes
Primary outcome, Medical Outcomes Study Physical Function scale (MOS-PF). Secondary outcome, dispensings of analgesics or anti-inflammatory drugs.
Results
We found 2916 TKA participants and 202 232 participants with no TKA (confirmed across datasets). Persons with TKA had a lower MOS-PF (59.9, 95% CI 58.5 to 60.6) than those without TKA (83.8, 95% CI 83.7 to 83.9). In the matched analysis, the TKA group had a lower MOS-PF (59.9, 95% CI 59.9 to 62.4) than those without TKA (68.4, 95% CI 67.8 to 69.0). In persons with TKA, lower levels of MOS-PF were associated with low self-rated health, high psychological distress, comorbidity, greater age, recent treatment for osteoarthritis and use of paracetamol. Women had an MOS-PF that was 11.6 points (95% CI 9.5 to 13.8) lower than men.
Conclusions
Several modifiable risk factors have been identified to influence PF in persons receiving TKA, with notable differences between sexes. The importance of these risk factors should be examined in incident TKA to test if early identification and intervention for individuals can improve outcomes.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002291
PMCID: PMC3710975  PMID: 23836760
Epidemiology
3.  Does Playground Improvement Increase Physical Activity among Children? A Quasi-Experimental Study of a Natural Experiment 
Outdoor recreational spaces have the potential to increase physical activity. This study used a quasi-experimental evaluation design to determine how a playground renovation impacts usage and physical activity of children and whether the visitations correlate with children's physical activity levels and parental impressions of the playground. Observational data and intercept interviews were collected simultaneously on park use and park-based activity among playground visitors at pre- and postrenovation at an intervention and a comparison park during three 2-hour periods each day over two weeks. No detectable difference in use between parks was observed at followup. In the intervention park, attendance increased among boys, but decreased among girls although this (nonsignificant) decline was less marked than in the comparison park. Following renovation, there was no detectable difference between parks in the number of children engaged in MVPA (interaction between park and time: P = 0.73). At the intervention park, there was a significant decline in girls engaging in MVPA at followup (P = 0.04). Usage was correlated with parental/carer perceptions of playground features but not with physical activity levels. Renovations have limited the potential to increase physical activity until factors influencing usage and physical activity behavior are better understood.
doi:10.1155/2013/109841
PMCID: PMC3694497  PMID: 23840227
4.  Statin use and clinical outcomes in older men: a prospective population-based study 
BMJ Open  2013;3(3):e002333.
Objective
The aim of this analysis was to investigate the relationship of statins with institutionalisation and death in older men living in the community, accounting for frailty.
Design
Prospective cohort study.
Setting
Community-dwelling men participating in the Concord Health and Ageing in Men Project, Sydney, Australia.
Participants
Men aged ≥70 years (n=1665).
Measurements
Data collected during baseline assessments and follow-up (maximum of 6.79 years) were obtained. Information regarding statin use was captured at baseline, between 2005 and 2007. Proportional hazards regression analysis was conducted to estimate the risk of institutionalisation and death according to statin use (exposure, duration and dose) and frailty status, with adjustment for sociodemographics, medical diagnosis and other clinically relevant factors. A secondary analysis used propensity score matching to replicate covariate adjustment in regression models.
Results
At baseline, 43% of participants reported taking statins. Over 6.79 years of follow-up, 132 (7.9%) participants were institutionalised and 358 (21.5%) participants had died. In the adjusted models, baseline statin use was not statistically associated with increased risk of institutionalisation (HR=1.60; 95% CI 0.98 to 2.63) or death (HR=0.88; 95% CI 0.66 to 1.18). There was no significant association between duration and dose of statins used with either outcome. Propensity scoring yielded similar findings. Compared with non-frail participants not prescribed statins, the adjusted HR for institutionalisation for non-frail participants prescribed statins was 1.43 (95% CI 0.81 to 2.51); for frail participants not prescribed statins, it was 2.07 (95% CI 1.11 to 3.86) and for frail participants prescribed statins, it was 4.34 (95% CI 2.02 to 9.33).
Conclusions
These data suggest a lack of significant association between statin use and institutionalisation or death in older men. These findings call for real-world trials specifically designed for frail older people to examine the impact of statins on clinical outcomes.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002333
PMCID: PMC3612783  PMID: 23474793
Clinical Pharmacology; Geriatric Medicine
5.  Ascertaining invasive breast cancer cases; the validity of administrative and self-reported data sources in Australia 
Background
Statutory State-based cancer registries are considered the ‘gold standard’ for researchers identifying cancer cases in Australia, but research using self-report or administrative health datasets (e.g. hospital records) may not have linkage to a Cancer Registry and need to identify cases. This study investigated the validity of administrative and self-reported data compared with records in a State-wide Cancer Registry in identifying invasive breast cancer cases.
Methods
Cases of invasive breast cancer recorded on the New South Wales (NSW) Cancer Registry between July 2004 and December 2008 (the study period) were identified for women in the 45 and Up Study. Registry cases were separately compared with suspected cases ascertained from: i) administrative hospital separations records; ii) outpatient medical service claims; iii) prescription medicines claims; and iv) the 45 and Up Study baseline survey. Ascertainment flags included diagnosis codes, surgeries (e.g. lumpectomy), services (e.g. radiotherapy), and medicines used for breast cancer, as well as self-reported diagnosis. Positive predictive value (PPV), sensitivity and specificity were calculated for flags within individual datasets, and for combinations of flags across multiple datasets.
Results
Of 143,010 women in the 45 and Up Study, 2039 (1.4%) had an invasive breast tumour recorded on the NSW Cancer Registry during the study period. All of the breast cancer flags examined had high specificity (>97.5%). Of the flags from individual datasets, hospital-derived ‘lumpectomy and diagnosis of invasive breast cancer’ and ‘(lumpectomy or mastectomy) and diagnosis of invasive breast cancer’ had the greatest PPV (89% and 88%, respectively); the later having greater sensitivity (59% and 82%, respectively). The flag with the highest sensitivity and PPV ≥ 85% was 'diagnosis of invasive breast cancer' (both 86%). Self-reported breast cancer diagnosis had a PPV of 50% and sensitivity of 85%, and breast radiotherapy had a PPV of 73% and a sensitivity of 58% compared with Cancer Registry records. The combination of flags with the greatest PPV and sensitivity was ‘(lumpectomy or mastectomy) and (diagnosis of invasive breast cancer or breast radiotherapy)’ (PPV and sensitivity 83%).
Conclusions
In the absence of Cancer Registry data, administrative and self-reported data can be used to accurately identify cases of invasive breast cancer for sample identification, removing cases from a sample, or risk adjustment. Invasive breast cancer can be accurately identified using hospital-derived diagnosis alone or in combination with surgeries and breast radiotherapy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-13-17
PMCID: PMC3599953  PMID: 23399047
45 and up study; Sensitivity; Specificity; Positive predictive value; Lumpectomy; Mastectomy; Radiotherapy; Hospital diagnosis; Tamoxifen; Anastrazole; Self-report
6.  Characteristics of Australian cohort study participants who do and do not take up an additional invitation to join a long-term biobank: The 45 and Up Study 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:655.
Background
Large-scale population biobanks are critical for future research integrating epidemiology, genetic, biomarker and other factors. Little is known about the factors influencing participation in biobanks. This study compares the characteristics of biobank participants with those of non-participants, among members of an existing cohort study.
Methods
Individuals aged 45 and over participating in The 45 and Up Study and living ≤20km from central Wagga Wagga, New South Wales (NSW), Australia (rural/regional area) or ≤10km from central Parramatta, NSW (urban area) (n=2340) were invited to join a biobank, giving a blood sample and having additional measures taken, including height, weight, waist circumference, heart rate and blood pressure.
Results
The overall uptake of the invitation to participate was 33% (762/2340). The response rate was 41% (410/1002) among participants resident in the regional area, and 26% (352/1338) among those resident in the urban area. Characteristics associated with significantly decreased participation were being aged 80 and over versus being aged 45–64 (participation rate ratio: RR = 0.45, 95%CI 0.34-0.60), not being born in Australia versus being born in Australia (0.69, 0.59-0.81), having versus not having a major disability (0.54, 0.38-0.76), having full-time caregiving responsibilities versus not being a full-time carer (0.62, 0.42-0.93) and being a current smoker versus never having smoked (0.66, 0.50-0.89). Factors associated with increased participation were being in part-time work versus not being in paid work (1.24, 1.07-1.44) and having an annual household income of ≥$50,000 versus <$20,000 (1.50, 1.26-1.80).
Conclusions
A range of socio-economic, health and lifestyle factors are associated with biobank participation among members of an existing cohort study, with factors relating to health-seeking behaviours and access difficulties or time limitations being particularly important. If more widespread participation in biobanking is desired, particularly to ensure sufficient numbers among those most affected by these issues, specific efforts may be required to increase participation in certain groups such as migrants, the elderly, and those in poor health. Whilst caution should be exercised when generalising estimates of absolute prevalence from biobanks, estimates for many internal comparisons are likely to remain valid.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-655
PMCID: PMC3536556  PMID: 23181586
7.  Randomised trial investigating the relationship of response rate for blood sample donation to site of biospecimen collection, fasting status and reminder letter: The 45 and Up Study 
Background
Various options exist for collecting biospecimens and biomarkers from cohort study participants, and these have important logistic, resource and scientific implications. Evidence on how different collection methods affect participation and data quality is lacking. This parallel-design randomised trial, the Link-Up Study, involved blood sample donation and other data collection among participants in an existing cohort study, The 45 and Up Study. It aimed to investigate the relation of fasting status, reminder letters and data collection site to response rates, data quality and biospecimen yield.
Methods
Individuals aged 45 and over participating in The 45 and Up Study and living ≤20 km from central Wagga Wagga, NSW (regional area) or ≤10 km from central Parramatta, NSW (urban area) (n = 2340) were randomised, stratified by area of residence, to be invited to give a blood sample and additional data by attending either a clinic established specifically for the trial, with an appointment time (“dedicated clinic”, n = 1336) or an existing local commercial pathology centre (n = 1004). Within dedicated clinic groups, participants were randomised into fasting (n = 668) or non-fasting (n = 668) and, at the Parramatta pathology centre site, reminder letter after two weeks (n = 336) or no reminder (n = 334).
Results
Overall, 33% (762/2340) of invitees took part in the Link-Up Study; 41% (410/1002) among regional and 26% (352/1338) among urban-area residents (p < 0.0001). At the dedicated clinics, response rates were 38% (257/668) not fasting and 38% fasting (257/668) (participation rate ratio (RR) = 1.00, 95%CI 0.91-1.08, p = 0.98). The response rate was 22% among individuals randomised to attend the Parramatta pathology centre without a reminder and 23% among those sent a reminder letter (RR = 1.01, 0.93-1.09, p = 0.74). In total, the response rate was 38% (514/1336) at the dedicated clinics and 25% (248/1004) at the pathology centres (RR = 0.67, 0.56-0.78, p < 0.01); measures of height, weight and systolic and diastolic blood pressure did not vary materially between these groups, nor did the median number of aliquots of plasma, buffy coat and red cells collected.
Conclusions
Among cohort study participants, response rates for an additional study involving biospecimen collection, but not data quality or average biospecimen yield, were considerably higher at dedicated clinics than at existing commercial pathology sites.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-12-147
PMCID: PMC3532153  PMID: 23006657
Biobank; Response rate; Fasting status; Reminder; Biospecimens
8.  Smoking and use of primary care services: findings from a population-based cohort study linked with administrative claims data 
Background
Available evidence suggests that smokers have a lower propensity than others to use primary care services. But previous studies have incorporated only limited adjustment for confounding and mediating factors such as income, access to services and health status. We used data from a large prospective cohort study (the 45 and Up Study), linked to administrative claims data, to quantify the relationship between smoking status and use of primary care services, including specific preventive services, in a contemporary Australian population.
Methods
Baseline questionnaire data from the 45 and Up Study were linked to administrative claims (Medicare) data for the 12-month period following study entry. The main outcome measures were Medicare benefit claimed for unreferred services, out-of-pocket costs (OOPC) paid, and claims for specific preventive services (immunisations, health assessments, chronic disease management services, PSA tests and Pap smears). Rate ratios with 95% confidence intervals were estimated using a hierarchical series of models, adjusted for predisposing, access- and health-related factors. Separate hurdle (two part) regression models were constructed for Medicare benefit and OOPC. Poisson models with robust error variance were used to model use of each specific preventive service.
Results
Participants included 254,382 people aged 45 years and over of whom 7.3% were current smokers. After adjustment for predisposing, access- and health-related factors, current smokers were very slightly less likely to have claimed Medicare benefit than never smokers. Among those who claimed benefit, current smokers claimed similar total benefit, but recent quitters claimed significantly greater benefit, compared to never-smokers. Current smokers were around 10% less likely than never smokers to have paid any OOPC. Current smokers were 15-20% less likely than never smokers to use immunisations, Pap smears and prostate specific antigen tests.
Conclusions
Current smokers were less likely than others to use primary care services that incurred out of pocket costs, and specific preventive services. This was independent of a wide range of predisposing, access- and health-related factors, suggesting that smokers have a lower propensity to seek health care. Smokers may be missing out on preventive services from which they would differentially benefit.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-263
PMCID: PMC3502263  PMID: 22900643
9.  Investigation of relative risk estimates from studies of the same population with contrasting response rates and designs 
Background
There is little empirical evidence regarding the generalisability of relative risk estimates from studies which have relatively low response rates or are of limited representativeness. The aim of this study was to investigate variation in exposure-outcome relationships in studies of the same population with different response rates and designs by comparing estimates from the 45 and Up Study, a population-based cohort study (self-administered postal questionnaire, response rate 18%), and the New South Wales Population Health Survey (PHS) (computer-assisted telephone interview, response rate ~60%).
Methods
Logistic regression analysis of questionnaire data from 45 and Up Study participants (n = 101,812) and 2006/2007 PHS participants (n = 14,796) was used to calculate prevalence estimates and odds ratios (ORs) for comparable variables, adjusting for age, sex and remoteness. ORs were compared using Wald tests modelling each study separately, with and without sampling weights.
Results
Prevalence of some outcomes (smoking, private health insurance, diabetes, hypertension, asthma) varied between the two studies. For highly comparable questionnaire items, exposure-outcome relationship patterns were almost identical between the studies and ORs for eight of the ten relationships examined did not differ significantly. For questionnaire items that were only moderately comparable, the nature of the observed relationships did not differ materially between the two studies, although many ORs differed significantly.
Conclusions
These findings show that for a broad range of risk factors, two studies of the same population with varying response rate, sampling frame and mode of questionnaire administration yielded consistent estimates of exposure-outcome relationships. However, ORs varied between the studies where they did not use identical questionnaire items.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-10-26
PMCID: PMC2868856  PMID: 20356408
10.  Evaluation of alternative respiratory syndromes for specific syndromic surveillance of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus: a time series analysis 
Background
Syndromic surveillance is increasingly being evaluated for its potential for early warning of increased disease activity in the population. However, interpretation is hampered by the difficulty of attributing a causative pathogen. We described the temporal relationship between laboratory counts of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) detection and alternative groupings of Emergency Department (ED) respiratory diagnoses.
Methods
ED and laboratory data were obtained for the south-eastern area of Sydney, NSW for the period 1 June 2001 - 1 December 2006. Counts of ED visits and laboratory confirmed positive RSV and influenza cases were aggregated by week. Semi-parametric generalized additive models (GAM) were used to determine the association between the incidence of RSV and influenza and the incidence of respiratory syndrome ED presentations while controlling for temporal confounders.
Results
For every additional RSV laboratory count, ED diagnoses of bronchiolitis increased by 3.1% (95%CI: 2.7%-3.5%) in the same week. For every additional influenza laboratory count, ED diagnoses of influenza-like illness increased by 4.7% (95%CI: 4.2%-5.2%) one week earlier.
Conclusion
In this study, large increases in ED diagnoses of bronchiolitis and influenza-like illness were independent and proxy indicators for RSV and influenza activity, respectively.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-190
PMCID: PMC2794282  PMID: 19943970
11.  Health, ageing and private health insurance: baseline results from the 45 and Up Study cohort 
Correction to Banks E, Jorm L, Lujic S, Rogers K. Health, ageing and private health insurance: baseline results from the 45 and Up Study cohort. ANZ Health Policy 2009; 6: 16.
doi:10.1186/1743-8462-6-17
PMCID: PMC2724511  PMID: 19638201
12.  Health, ageing and private health insurance: baseline results from the 45 and Up Study cohort 
Background
This study investigates the relationships between health and lifestyle factors, age and private health insurance (PHI) in a large Australian population-based cohort study of people aged 45 years and over; the 45 and Up Study. Unlike previous Australian analyses of relationships between health, lifestyle and PHI, it incorporates adjustment for multiple confounding socioeconomic and demographic factors. Recruitment into the 45 and Up Study began in February 2006 and these analyses relate to the first 103,042 participants who joined the study prior to July 2008.
Results
The proportion with PHI decreased with increasing age. The factors independently and most strongly associated with having PHI were: higher income; higher educational attainment; not holding a health care concession card; not being of Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander origin; being a non-smoker; high levels of self-rated health and functional capacity; and low levels of psychological distress. These factors increased the probability of having PHI by 16% to 125%, compared to individuals without these characteristics. PHI coverage was significantly but only marginally higher in people reporting non-melanoma skin cancer (adjusted RR 1.04, 95%CI 1.03–1.05), prostate cancer (1.09, 1.06–1.11) or an enlarged prostate (1.07, 1.06–1.09), those reporting a family history of a range of conditions (e.g. 1.02, 1.01–1.03 for a family history of heart disease; 1.03, 1.02–1.04 for a family history of prostate cancer) and lower in people reporting diabetes (0.92, 0.91–0.94) or stroke (0.91, 0.88–0.94), compared to people who did not have these medical or family histories. PHI was higher in those reporting certain surgical procedures with RRs (95%CI) of 1.12 (1.09–1.15) for hip replacement, 1.10 (1.08–1.13) for knee replacement and 1.12 (1.09–1.15) for prostatectomy, compared to those not reporting these interventions.
Conclusion
Compared to the rest of the study population, those with PHI are richer, better educated, more health conscious, in better health and more likely to use certain discretionary health services. Hence, PHI use is generally highest among those with the least need for health care. Whether or not people have PHI is more strongly associated with demographic and lifestyle factors than with health status.
doi:10.1186/1743-8462-6-16
PMCID: PMC2719656  PMID: 19594895
13.  Clinical Decision Velocity is Increased when Meta-search Filters Enhance an Evidence Retrieval System 
Objective
To test whether the use of an evidence retrieval system that uses clinically targeted meta-search filters can enhance the rate at which clinicians make correct decisions, reduce the effort involved in locating evidence, and provide an intuitive match between clinical tasks and search filters.
Design
A laboratory experiment under controlled conditions asked 75 clinicians to answer eight randomly sequenced clinical questions, using one of two randomly assigned search engines. The first search engine Quick Clinical (QC) was equipped with meta-search filters (the combined use of meta-search and search filters) designed to answer typical clinical questions e.g., treatment, diagnosis, and the second ‘library model’ system (LM) offered free access to an identical evidence set with no filter support.
Measurements
Changes in clinical decision making were measured by the proportion of correct post-search answers provided to questions, the time taken to answer questions, and the number of searches and links to documents followed in a search session. The intuitive match between meta-search filters and clinical tasks was measured by the proportion and distribution of filters selected for individual clinical questions.
Results
Clinicians in the two groups performed equally well pre-search. Post search answers improved overall by 21%, with 52.2% of answers correct with QC and 54.7% with LM (χ2 = 0.33, df = 1, p > 0.05). Users of QC obtained a significantly greater percentage of their correct answers within the first two minutes of searching compared to LM users (QC 58.2%; LM 32.9%; χ2 = 19.203, df = 1, p < 0.001). There was a statistical difference for QC and LM survival curves, which plotted overall time to answer questions, irrespective of answer (Wilcoxon, p = 0.019) and for the average time to provide a correct answer (Wilcoxon, p = 0.006). The QC system users conducted significantly fewer searches per scenario (m = 3.0 SD = 1.15 versus m = 5.5 SD1.97, t = 6.63, df = 72, p = 0.0001). Clinicians using the QC system followed fewer document links than did those who used LM (respectively 3.9 links SD = 1.20 versus 4.7 links SD = 1.79, t = 2.13, df = 72, p = 0.0368). In 6 of the 8 questions, two meta-search filters accounted for 89% or more of clinicians' first choice, suggesting the choice of filter intuitively matched the clinical decision task at hand.
Conclusions
Meta-search filters result in clinicians arriving at answers more quickly than unconstrained searches across information sources, and appear to increase the rate with which correct decisions are made. In time restricted clinical settings meta-search filters may thus improve overall decision accuracy, as fewer searches that could otherwise lead to a correct answer are abandoned. Meta-search filters appear to be intuitive to use, suggesting that the simplicity of the user model would fit very well into clinical settings.
doi:10.1197/jamia.M2765
PMCID: PMC2528038  PMID: 18579828

Results 1-13 (13)